Need a new roof? If your living room or kitchen sports large buckets for catching rainy drips, the answer is probably “yes.” Assuming that you are unable or willing to replace it yourself, you will be looking for a reputable roofing contractor to handle the job for you. The question then becomes, how do you find a dependable roofer?
The answer may not be as hard as you think. Here are a few possibilities to consider:
1. Check the telephone directory’s yellow pages. Browse the section called “roofing” for the names of local persons you can call for an estimate. Sometimes the ads will reveal key information about the person, such as location, hours of operation, and specialty areas. You also might find out whether the person accepts credit card payments, and whether he or she provides free estimates. Call two or three names, at least, for an idea of available contractors.
2. Contact the Better Business Bureau. While this organization will not provide a list of names for you to call, it can give you an indication of someone’s response to complaints so that you get an idea of his or her character and reputation.
3. Locate roofer-related organizations. There may be a roofers’ group or construction companies that can tell you what to look for in a roofing contractor, and perhaps recommend a few local names.
4. Ask local home building supply stores. Often they keep a list of specialists they recommend to area folks who are looking for consulting or hands-on help with building projects. Occasionally the store might sponsor a workshop or seminar featuring one of these experts. Attending a session may give you a better idea of the roofer’s credentials.
5. Browse online websites. Building companies and contractors as well as independent roofers are increasingly advertising their skills on the Web by hosting a website. Some offer free newsletter sign-ups or updated FAQ’s that help to answer visitors’ questions.
6. Ask for referrals. Wherever you get the name of a possible roofer for your project, ask for referral letters from clients, and then follow up by contacting these people. You may even want to take a glance at the workmanship.
7. Pay in portions. Never pay for a roofing job (or any type of home construction or remodeling project) up front. You can pay a third or a fourth as a down payment if you really want to, but make an agreement to collect partial payments in two or three intervals. Get a written estimate first, and if the person does not follow this or tries to change the terms of your agreement, report him to the Better Business Bureau or local authorities.